The U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. Since then, 538
days have elapsed, not including today, September 8, 2004. In that
span of time, 752 U.S. troops have died in combat.
"The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19, 2003, when forces
belonging primarily to the United States and the United Kingdom
Wikipedia: 2003 invasion of Iraq
"The Defense Department's most recent published count, as of Tuesday,
Sept. 7, shows 998 U.S. service members dead. Of those, 752 died as a
result of hostile action and 246 died of non-hostile causes."
Kansas City Star: A Daily Look at U.S. Iraq Military Deaths
On average, therefore, the U.S. has suffered 752.0/538.0 = 1.40 combat
deaths per day between the first day of the invasion and today.
As for Detroit homicides, these 538 days have included two summers,
which would tend to artificially inflate the death count beyond the
annual average, given that murders are significantly more frequent in
warmer weather. But we know that in 2003, the latest full year for
which we have figures, 366 murders were recorded in Detroit.
"In Detroit, homicides dropped 9 percent to 366, though the city?s
murder rate ranks fifth among big cities."
Detroit News: Detroit is most violent big city
This yields an average of 366.0/365.0 = 1.00 murders per day. Thus,
comparing the recent Detroit murder rate to the Iraq combat-death
toll, we see that the U.S. armed forces has lost on average 40% more
service members to enemy fire than the number of people murdered in
Another way to put it is to extrapolate from the Detroit average to
the span of the Iraq invasion. In the 538 days during which 752 U.S.
combat deaths occurred, 538 Detroit murders would have been committed,
which makes a difference of 214 deaths. In conclusion, the Iraqi armed
forces and rebel militias are 40% more lethal than the criminals of
If you feel that my answer is incomplete or inaccurate in any way, please
post a clarification request so that I have a chance to meet your needs
before you assign a rating.
iraq combat death count
Clarification of Answer by
08 Sep 2004 13:47 PDT
I have spoken by phone to the Detroit Police Department's Office of
Public Information and to their Homicide section, but they have not
been forthcoming. They are unwilling, apparently for legalistic
reasons, to release their homicide figures, and insist that I must
file a Freedom of Information Act through their law unit if I desire
access to that information.
The FBI does collect homicide statistics from local agencies as part
of their Uniform Crime Reporting program, but their reports are not
issued until the following year.
The best I've been able to do so far, and I think it's quite good, is
From one news story, we learn that there were 68 homicides in the
first three months of 2003, or the first 90 days. Observe that it's
wintertime, with a lower murder rate than usual, equaling only 276
homicides on an annualized basis.
Detroit homicides soar 50% over '03
The invasion of Iraq began on March 19, so we proportionally deduct 12
days from the three-month figure.
78.0/90.0 * 68 = 58.9
Now, the same story tells us that 361 murders occurred all year in
2003. This is not exactly the same figure as that given by a different
story in the same paper, but no matter. We deduce that between March
19 and the end of 2003, very nearly
361 - 59 = 302
murders were recorded. We have interpolated those 12 days in March, it
is true, but our error is unlikely to be greater than the error in the
newspaper's own homicide reporting.
As for 2004, we read in a rather fresh article, dating to August 30,
that homicides have risen by 9% in Detroit this year.This implies that
243.0/365.0 * 365 = 240.3
murders in these first 243 days of 2004, there have been
1.09 * 240.3 = 261.9
murders through August 30.
Rounding off and summing up, we find that
302 + 262 = 564
murders, or at least a very similar number, have occurred in Detroit
at the same time as 752 U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. This revised
figure shows that the Iraqi defenders are 33% more lethal than the
Clarification of Answer by
08 Sep 2004 13:54 PDT
Whoops, I forgot to include a link to the article citing a 9% rise in
Detroit homicides this year.
Remember, we are not making any kind of estimate when we compute 109%
of the 2003 homicide rate, but strictly deducing the murder toll from
which the article obtained that 9% figure. Our 2004 figure is correct
insofar as the article is correct.
The only source of error in the above calculation is the 12-day
interpolation for the last days of March, which is a very brief span
compared to the overall period we're covering.
To account for the first week of September, I would say that 570
murders have occurred in Detroit since March 19, 2003, and I stand by